Saturday, May 30, 2015

Jordan Lee: Church Records

Ancestors, were they religious or not? Finding ancestors in church records. 

Recently as I was working on a short article for a newsletter, I came across some genealogy quotes as I was surfing the web. One that caught my eye was as I read them was, “My ancestors must be in a witness protection program!” I thought aha, that is where the parents of third great grandfather Jordan Lee are, in the witness protection program.  Jordan Lee seems to have appeared from nowhere. According to family trees posted on websites, Jordan Lee was born in 1778 in South Carolina or Scotland. Jordan Lee is shown without parents on family trees on these websites; therefore, that is comforting to know that I am not the only one who can’t connect him to parents. The birth and place of birth are projected because of the period of the censuses and land records found for him.
Most of our ancestors attended church. That was one of the few social gatherings for them during that time. It probably is a safe estimate that between 1700 and 1740, an estimated 75 to 80 percent of the people attended churches. Our ancestors attended the church in their area. The Great Awakening was going on in some areas, so, you would think because of all this going on in churches, there would be records for ancestor, Jordan Lee and his parents. However, there is none that I have found to date that will help me to place him with a church.

If you're not sure of the church affiliation, you might search the churches closest to your ancestor’s home, then broaden your search in ever-widening circles. Look at your ancestors’ neighbors gather information on them. What religious affiliation were they? Were neighbors family members? Look at all the clues as you research them. Jordan Lee was a farmer, as were all my ancestors before him, and church records are one of the records missing for my ancestors. Where are the records? I haven’t found any church records for them. I have to remember some churches kept better records than others did.

Some of the things you look for are membership lists such as new members, members who transferred membership, and members excommunicated or censured.  That information was often recorded, and is helpful in tracing a family’s migration. Church affiliation may be found by searching through obituaries and cemetery records. Church Minutes of various organizations within a church may include the name of an ancestor. There may be biographical notes on members and pastors in some church records. Also, look for notes on funerals — sometimes including the names of those who attended.

Church records are another tool in identifying ancestors and placing them in a certain place at a certain time. Up to this point in researching the Lee ancestors the conclusion is that my Lee ancestors’ did not have an affiliation with a church , the church records were destroyed, the church did not keep records, or the church records were placed in an archive after the church closed.  

Therefore, the quest continues for records that would verify Jordan Lee as the father of Benjamin Lee, and connect Jordan Lee to parents.  

Esther Eley Jones

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Eleys and Genealogical Research: Sharing Family Information

The Eleys and Genealogical Research:  Sharing Information
Written by Esther Eley Jones

     Mother do you know anything about your family? That was a question that I asked Mother back in the 1970s trying to pick her brain to get information about her and her Coon family. That was the extent of my knowledge of how to interview someone to gather family information. Luckily, Mother gave her and Daddy’s birth dates, places of birth, their parents’ name and names of her siblings to me and I wrote the information on a piece of loose leaf paper. That was all the information I gathered in that interview from Mother.  I had stored the piece of paper that I had written the information on in a binder and forgot about it.  Several years later while cleaning out the attic, I found that piece of paper.

That piece of paper would later be valuable in researching the family. Ruby the oldest of the siblings knew more about our family than the other children. Seems she and a cousin had done genealogical research on our families. In 2001 when I began my quest to learn about “family” my sister, Ruby, gave me names of grandparents, where they were from originally, Granny Eley was Alice Lee from Alabama, and her parents were William and Emma.   As you know, that was not much information to go on to start a journey into family history research, but it was better than not having any information at all. The information from Ruby and Mother was enough information to start on the journey of genealogical research. 
     As I started my journey of genealogical research I read how to books on genealogy, and surfed the web to gather information on how to research my family lines.  There were family trees on Ancestry with names familiar to the ones I was researching. Therefore, I used the information that I found on Ancestry as a guide in my research. I took those names, researched them using documents that I found such as census records, land records, cemetery records, family stories, and probate records. I verified the information that was found in family trees to make sure that I was researching my correct Lee, Ramsey, Coon, Edwards, Meadows, Oliver, and White family lines. Then I decided it was time to visit the last of the Eley siblings, Aunt Gladys. With no experience how to interview an elderly family member, I planned a trip to visit Aunt Gladys.
Taken Dec 1970 - Left to right Buddy, Aunt Gladys, Daddy
Buddy is Vernon Roy Eley, Gladys Inez Eley, Esters Eley

    Then,  I made the trip to visit the last of the Eley siblings Gladys to see if she could give me information on the Eley family.  It was a very disappointing visit with this aunt. I quizzed her about the Eley family and she did not know anything. She did know that Granddaddy Jack always dressed up with a large hat. She also remembered visiting a brother of Jack Eley who lived in Rayville. She could not remember his name, but he lived in Rayville. She told me, “Back when I was growing up, kids were to be seen and not heard. Parents did not talk about things. And you did not ask questions.” Well, needless to say she did not give me any genealogical information that would help me in my research of family. However, years later I found out the reason for her sealed lips.

     By the way, the “brother” this aunt was talking about was actually Granddaddy Jack Eley’s uncle, Robert Lawrence. He was the youngest of the Robert Lawrence Eley I, children. Jack Eley’s father Joe had petitioned the court for guardianship of his siblings after the death of his father in 1862. Robert Lawrence I, was killed at the Battle of Corinth and Martha Horn Eley had died after the birth of her last child about 1860.

     Two years later I made another visit to Gladys' to find out if maybe her memory had been jogged about the Eley family and there was information she would like to share. I took her a printout of the genealogy report from my Family Tree Maker file when I visited her the first time. Well, she didn't know anything and stuck by her story of families didn't talk and children were to be seen and not heard. So I thanked her for allowing me to visit her and wished her well. She died the next year with all the family secrets going with her. However, in researching and using DNA test results I now understand why her lips were sealed and she wasn't sharing information.  You can read the story on this blog. 

     I have done this project alone since my sister Ruby passed away in 2006. She would be so happy to know that I have continued the quest and have made so much progress researching these family lines.  I have two living sisters and a brother, and they listen with interest as I share my latest find with them or how I use DNA test results to find and verify cousin matches. They share a tidbit of information along the journey. So, the journey continues!

     Genealogy research is not a hobby that can be done in isolation and be fruitful. Be willing to share surnames you are researching and information with other family historians and possibly, you will make contact with others who have a common interest.

     Remember that family secrets can be revealed and it is a good idea to share them as you know them, and keep in mind that every family has them. These stories are a part of our family.  By sharing them you will save your loved one countless hours of researching that may be spent on other family lines. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together

Esters Eley and Unknown Man Standing Beside a Ford Model A – Or is It?
Unknown man, Pete Bowman, is Daddy’s first cousin once removed.
James E. Bowman "Pete" Puborn 15 July 1924 in West Carroll Parish,Louisiana
and died 22 June 1999. Pete is interred in the Oak Grove Cemetery,Oak Grove, 
West Carroll Parish, Louisiana.  
I shared this photo on my Facebook page, and another Lee cousin identified the unknown man on the right in the photo. Pete Bowman was a short man and when a cousin from Texas shared this photo with me, I thought that was who the unknown man had to be in the photo. I remember he was a cousin who Daddy loved and respected and who stayed in touch with Daddy.  Pete and his wife Bertha visited us often as I was growing up in West Carroll Parish. Even after Daddy and Mother moved to the Chicken Farm Pete visited them, and then Daddy retired and they moved to Corinth Community Pete visited there as well.

I never knew Pete's given name, I only knew him as Pete. Recently I connected with a cousin on Facebook where this photo was posted and he was identified in the photo. This cousin gave me Pete's parents names. Pete was Daddy's first cousin Lizzy Lee's son. Lizzy Lee was Uncle Jim and Aunt Nannie's daughter - one of about thirteen children of that couple. Then, there was John David Bowman whose name popped up in conversation. Who was he? John David was a visitor frequently at our home in rural West Carroll Parish. He was bigger and older than we were; however, he played games with us. In addition, he really scared us at times and we would all go running and screaming trying to hide from him. Therefore, who is John David and how did he fit into the dynamics of the family? As family information such as names, given and surnames, began coming in finally the puzzle pieces started going in place.

The first puzzle piece connected was Pete. The family information started coming together for this person known only as "Pete Bowman." It is very important when taking up the hobby of genealogical research to contact family members and anyone who may be connected in some way to the family. There is an expression that used often with researchers, and that is, "genealogy is not done in isolation." If you do research family in isolation, you may miss very important stories, meeting new cousins, and reconnecting with old ones. That is the reason that I am persistent in connecting with cousins and reconnecting with old ones because they may have the piece of information that will jump start my family research and help put the puzzle pieces together.

Pete Bowman is identified and he is Daddy's first cousin once removed, and they share a common ancestor William Alfred Lee. Another cousin on the Lee familial linage added to the family tree and I know how he fits into the family dynamics. Identifying Pete Bowman led to another piece to the puzzle that fit into its place – John David Bowman. Using the parents’ names, I went to and did a search for Louis Bowman, estimated the birth date, guessed at the location as Louisiana, and the search results yielded some possibilities. One was the 1940 census. Therefore, I put in the information for Louis Bowman, he was head of family, Lizzy his wife, and the names of the children were familiar.  The youngest child listed on the census for Louis and Lizzy was John David. Now another piece of the puzzle put in place! Nevertheless, which one is Pete? Further research needed, so I did a search for Pete Bowman and wife Bertha in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana because I remembered he lived in that area. The search results yielded U. S. City Directories 1821-1989, for Ouachita Parish, a Draft Registration Card, Social Security Death Index 1935-2014, and U. S. Find a Grave Index 1600s to Current, U. S. Veterans Gravesites, ca. 1775-2006, and Find a Grave Memorial.

After analyzing each of these records the final puzzle piece fit  neatly in place and the unknown man in the photo identified as James E. Bowman – Pete Bowman son of Lizzy Lee Bowman Daddy’s first cousin. Had I not connected with the cousin on Facebook I would most likely have never known the connection with Daddy and Pete Bowman.

Another paternal ancestor placed in his rightful place in the Lee family tree. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Researching the Eley Paternal Line

Genealogical Research and Y-DNA Testing
By Esther Eley Jones
11 May 2015

Esters, Irma, Dollie, Ellen and Gladys Eley  
After researching the Eleys from Veasey, Drew County, Arkansas and hitting a dead end in researching of the family line it was time for a new plan. The plan was to use genealogical research and Y-DNA test results to verify the biological father of Esters Eley, my father; research to determine where the Eleys migrated from; who our most distant ancestor is; then to research and determine our Eleys ethnicity. 

Esters Eley  was born 28 June 1908, in Eros, Jackson Parish, Louisiana to Alice Lee. Esters’ birth was what genealogists call a non-paternity event (NPE). Now you may be wondering what a non-paternity event is. Non-paternity event is a term used in genetic genealogy to describe any event, which has caused a break in the link between a hereditary surname and the Y-chromosome resulting in a son using a different surname from that of his biological father. [1]

Non-Paternal Events (NPE) usually refer to an occurrence in the past.  It may have been an adoption of a family member or friend's child, the adoption of a child from the Orphan Train, or an illegitimate birth.  Whatever the circumstances of the NPE may be, it usually creates obstacles for genealogists.[2]

Before the introduction of commercial DNA testing for genealogical purposes in the year 2000, there wasn't much hope for a genealogist to surpass the NPE. That was the situation when I was researching the Eley familial linage. Researching the Eley family and finding records to verify Robert Lawrence as my ancestor was falling in place. The plan was to research the family using census, marriage, death, cemetery, land records, tutorship papers, newspaper articles, and wills to prove Robert Lawrence Eley, was the father of Josiah “Jo” Eley the father of Jackson Lawrence Eley, my grandfather.  On the other hand, that proved more difficult than I thought!

Robert L. Eley,born in Georgia,  a saddler, and wife Martha, son Josiah, and daughter Francis A. and a boarder Harris A. Fruman were on the 1850 census for Springhill Township, Drew County, Arkansas. Robert  owned $150 in real estate.[3]  On the 1860 census for Veasey, Drew County, Arkansas Robert born in Virginia was a farmer, with a real estate value of $800. He is head of family and his children Josiah, Francis A., Sarah, M. E. (Melanie Ellen), Robert L., and five months old Lucy. Looking at the age of the last child Martha most likely died in childbirth about 1860.[4] Martha is on the 1860 Mortality Schedule for Veasey, Drew County, Arkansas. As stated on the schedule Martha died in March 1860 and was thirty-six years old at the time of her death.[5]

July 1, 1857 Robert acquired eighty acres of land; July 1, 1859 he acquired one hundred and twenty acres and an additional eighty acres. Then on April 2, 1860, Robert acquired eighty acres, and September 1, 1860 he acquired forty acres and another eighty acres in Drew County, Arkansas. [6]
Then research on this family came to a virtual dead end after Robert Lawrence disappeared from records in the Drew County and surrounding counties in Arkansas. Research on this family line was placed in a box and left there for about ten years at which time I became interested in the War Between the States, and finding ancestors who served in the War.[7] I was looking through the list of soldiers who served in Arkansas and low and behold listed were Robert Lawrence and his son Josiah Eley. Robert Lawrence mustered 11 March 1862 at Helena, Arkansas and on the list it stated missing at the Battle of Corinth on 4 October 1862.[8] Later he was declared dead in the Battle of Corinth.[9] Josiah listed as deserted on 15 March 1962 on his compiled service record.[10],[11] Mystery of their disappearance from Drew County solved.

Possibly the reason for Josiah’s deserting was to go back home and care for the children and farm. His father owned four hundred acres of land in Veasey, Drew County and the farm was in need of care.  His mother was deceased and there were five young children back in Drew County whom was in need of care, also. Josiah was the oldest of the children and he was the one left to care for them and the farm.

Josiah was born about 1844 in Mississippi so he would have been about eighteen years old when he mustered into the War.[12] Joe and Eliza Jane married 14 January 1879 in Morehouse Parish, Louisiana.[13] The 24 May 1870 Josiah Eley petitioned the Parish Court of Morehouse for tutor of the minors of Robert Lawrence and Martha Horn Eley deceased. Melanie Ellen and Robert Lawrence were the minors Josiah was seeking tutorship. He was granted tutorship of the minors 28 May 1870 in the presence of John W. Baker and Frank Vaughan witnesses and Deputy Runder.[14] Joe is on the 1870 census with his wife Marry, son William, and brother Robert Lawrence in Ward 6, Bastrop, Morehouse Parish, Louisiana.[15] Sometime after this census, Marry and son William died because they are not on any records after that time. On the 1880 census Joseph Eley, Eliza J., Pamelia A., and Robert are living in 10th Ward, Morehouse, Louisiana.[16]  Jackson Lawrence was born 4 June 1882 so he would not have been on a census until 1900 since the 1890 census was destroyed.[17] Francis, her husband and children, Joe’s oldest sister is living nearby, and Sara their next to the oldest sister is living with Francis’s family.[18]

By 1870 Francis was married and living in Ward 6, Morehouse Parish and Melanie Ellen and Sara are both living with Francis’s family. Francis had one child age 4, Jackson B. Anderson.[19] Robert Lawrence their youngest brother married 13 November 1880 Theodocia Hamby.[20]

Jackson Lawrence is 18 years old and a boarder with the Thomas Howie family on the 1900 Census for Ashley County, Arkansas.[21]  However, he is an elusive one and isn’t on another census until 1930 for Ward 3, Oak Grove, West Carroll Parish, Louisiana as Lawrence Jackson. There Jackson L. Eley is listed with his wife Alice, children Irma, Dolly O., Ellen, Robert Lawrence, and Gladys.[22] Then in 1940, Jackson L. and Alice are living alone in West Carroll Parish.[23]

After researching the Eley lineage several years and found no records linking Esters Eley to the Eley lineage it was time to look at other alternatives in researching this paternal line. It was time for a new plan. Then I recalled that my sister Ruby had made a comment to me when I began researching in 2000. Something to the affect, “You know Daddy’s real daddy is Uncle Johnny Edwards.” Oh, really, well now Ruby we aren’t going to get into that now. Ruby’s comment was taken lightly, stored away, and recalled several years later. It was in my memory, but I wasn’t taking it seriously. I dismissed it as a family story that possibly had been told, retold, and changed over the years. However, once I hit the dead end on the Eley line I was thinking of what happened that could cause this dead-end problem. Perhaps there is something to the comment about Daddy’s biological father being Uncle Johnny Edwards.

While growing up in rural West Carroll Parish our family and the Lee families stayed close to the Edwards family from Alabama or the Alabama folks as they were called. Daddy went to Alabama to visit those folks a few times, as I recalled. The Edwards family came to Louisiana many times over the years and it was always a big event when they came to visit. The family looked forward to these visits. That was when it was time for the family reunion.

So maybe there is something to that story, and it is worth researching further. First, Ruby and I made a visit to Aunt Gladys Copes to interview her and get information about the Eley family. We both were disappointed because Aunt Gladys didn’t know anything other than Granddaddy Jack had a brother whom lived in Rayville. They visited him occasionally. That proved to be wrong information. The brother turned out to be Granddaddy’s Uncle Robert Lawrence the youngest of Robert Lawrence Eley’s children. Granddaddy’s father Joe was the guardian of the younger Robert. So now it was time to turn to a new tool DNA testing. This was the beginning of using DNA testing along with genealogical research to prove our familial linage.   

It was time to use this new tool with the genealogical paper trail and find the Eley family connection. My brother agreed to take the Y-DNA test for me, so I ordered the Y-DNA 67 marker test from Family Tree DNA. When the results came back I was not concerned the Eley surnames weren’t listed, and there were close matches to three Edwards names. I didn’t know enough about DNA testing to know that Edwards was what I needed to look at until the Edwards Project Administrator, a close cousin contacted me and asked me for my pedigree chart for my Edwards surname. He said we are a close match and we share a common ancestor.  After corresponding with this newfound cousin, we determined that Esters Eley’s biological father was John Houston Edwards “Uncle Johnny Edwards.”

Over a period of four years, using Y-DNA 67 Marker Test results and genealogical research the Edwards familial lineage has been proven as the biological line of Esters Eley. Using Y-DNA testing and genealogical research the family story was laid to rest, and Daddy’s biological father verified. This proves how important it is too do the research thoroughly and to use DNA with the research to verify family lineages. One other tidbit to keep in mind is that family stories may sound like fallacies, but they usually have a bit of truth in them.

[3] Year: 1850; Census Place: Spring Hill, Drew, Arkansas; Roll: M432_26; Page: 96A; Image: 197
[4] Year: 1860; Census Place: Veasey, Drew, Arkansas; Roll: M653_41; Page: 181; Image: 181; Family History Library Film: 803041
[5] U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.
[6] Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records. Automated Records Project; Federal Land Patents, State Volumes. Springfield, Virginia: Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States, 2007.
7] Historical Data Systems, comp. U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2009.
[8] /image/223747156; January 30, 2010.
[9] The Honored 600, Company B, 23rd Arkansas Infantry Regiment, Confederate States of America.
[10] National Park Service. U. S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865,
[12] Year: 1840; Census Place: Tippah, Mississippi; Roll: 219; Page: 199; Image: 403; Family History Library Film: 0014842
[13] Marriage Bond 106, State of Louisiana Parish of Morehouse 14th Jucicial district Court. Josiah Eley and Eliza Jane Green, 14 Jan 1879.
[14] Tutorship Probate 472, State of Louisiana Parish Court for the Parish of Morehouse, 28 May 1870,
[15] Year: 1870; Census Place: Ward 6, Morehouse, Louisiana; Roll: M593_517; Page: 256A; Image: 515; Family History Library Film: 552016
[16] Year: 1880; Census Place: 10th Ward, Morehouse, Louisiana; Roll: 457; Family History Film: 1254457; Page: 474A; Enumeration District: 058; Image: 0188
[17] U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.
[18] Year: 1870; Census Place: Ward 6, Morehouse, Louisiana; Roll: M593_517; Page: 210B; Image: 424; Family History Library Film: 552016
[19] Year: 1880; Census Place: 10th Ward, Morehouse, Louisiana; Roll: 457; Family History Film: 1254457; Page: 474A; Enumeration District: 058; Image: 0188
[20] Marriage Bond 460, R. L Eley and Theodothia Hamby, State of Louisiana Parish of Morehouse, 14th Judicial District Court, 13 November 1880.
[21] Year: 1900; Census Place: Union, Ashley, Arkansas; Roll: 49; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0016; FHL microfilm: 1240049
[22] Year: 1930; Census Place: Police Jury Ward 3, West Carroll, Louisiana; Roll: 825; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 0003; Image: 882.0; FHL microfilm: 2340560
[23] Year: 1940; Census Place: West Carroll, Louisiana; Roll: T627_1466; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 62-7

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Life in Small Town Dubach

Dubach High School: My Alma Mater
Esther Eley Jones
3 May 2015

Dubach High School, Dubach, Louisiana 1962
My family moved from Concord Community in West Carroll Parish, Louisiana in the summer of 1957, when I was fourteen years old. We moved to Clay, Jackson Parish, Louisiana and lived on Mrs. Ceigal Kavanaugh’s place on Highway 167. Kathryn, Johnny, and I enrolled in Quitman School where I was going into the ninth grade and finished the tenth grade there.

Quitman was one of those schools where the students and faculty were friendly and welcomed you as if you were one of their own. I played basketball and made friends there and I remember them today. However, I wasn’t to graduate high school at Quitman because the grownups who were working with Mr. Billy, who had moved with him from West Carroll Parish were moving to Dubach in Lincoln Parish, Louisiana. Those who were moving with us made it a little easier for us in changing schools, going into a new school, and making new friends.  Mariam was my best friend, and the Hutsons moved nearby. So the transition from Quitman to Dubach High School work rather smoothly. I was going into the eleventh grade and I only had one year after that, I would graduate and move onto another venture in my life. The students and teachers made the transition into Dubach High School work for me, even though it wasn’t as smoothly as Quitman High. The town of Dubach was one of those places where you fit in or you were an outsider.

We were outsiders because we weren’t kin to the Colvins, Greens, Balls, Smiths, and Tatums, because those families made up most of the Dubach, Lincoln Parish area. Everyone was kin to each other one way or another. The school and the churches were all made up of kinfolks. There was a large Colvin Reunion every year at the Colvin Memorial and that was a “big” thing there.
At Dubach High School, there were the cliques, or those who were smart, popular, and upper class status.  There were those who were average intelligence and middle class, and whose friends were of the same class. Then there were those who weren't so popular and had a “reputation” and you were warned to stay away from that group. In addition, there were some of those intelligent middle class students that had “reputations” also. There was nothing they would not do, just to get a laugh or to be clowns. Now all these many years later I look back and none of those classes matter, because we were teens and the goal was to graduate from high school, and if possible go on to college. That I did and went on to graduate school.

There were new friends in the eleventh grade as well as an old friend Mariam. We had a group that would hang out in study hall and work on homework. Study hall was a place where we could catch up on our assignments and anything else that needed to be caught up on. We had one in the group who was the nerd so we all depended on her to help us with our homework, then there was the guy that wanted to hang out with us girls. Then the rest of the group was just average students. This group helped me pass my geometry class that year.

My friend Mariam liked this guy named Woody. Well, Woody had asked Mariam out on a date, but she couldn’t go with him alone. She had to have someone go with them. Woody had already graduated, and Mariam and I were in the twelfth grade by this time. There was a friend of Woody’s named Jimmy. Woody could ask him to go, Mariam could ask me to go, and we would blind date on Friday night. Therefore, the plan worked and we double dated on a blind date with Mariam and Woody, and Jimmy and me.

What did we do on a first blind date we went to Ruston to the A & W Rootbeer Drive In? Then we drove around in Ruston on the Louisiana Polytechnic Campus, and then our dates took us home.  You have to understand we didn’t have any money to do anything else and the food was cheap at A & W. Also, we couldn’t stay out late, we had a curfew to abide by and that was 10:00.

That blind date for Jimmy and me turned out to be a permanent date, and were married and he completed his studies at Louisiana Tech with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. We moved to New Orleans where he worked for the aerospace industry for the Michaud Plant. Mariam and Woody didn’t hit it off and they parted ways after that first date. Well, Jimmy and me, fifty-four years later we are still together and life goes on even though the logging business for Daddy was short lived. 

The logging business was short lived  for Daddy, and Mr. Billy moved on to another venture. Daddy moved to South Louisiana and worked in the oil fields until 1965. At which time Hurricane Betsy came through Buras, in Placquemines Parish so Daddy left there and didn't return. After that venture, he moved to Sibley, out from Choudrant and was the overseer of Brewster Chicken Farm that later became Hinton Chicken farm, and he retired from there. Then Daddy and Mother settled in their little home in Corinth Community close to Buddy and his family and lived there the remainder of their lives. 

Daddy had farmed for most of his life, except for a brief time when he worked on the pipeline in West Carroll Parish, so giving up farming and moving away from West Carroll Parish to Jackson Parish was a major decision for him. He left behind his family, Aunt Leakie, Cousin Bill, Aunt Nannie, Aunt Gladys, Aunt Ellen, Granny Eley, and numerous cousins. He had lived near them and stayed close for as long as I can remember, but this all changed when we moved away.

However, life went on I graduated from high school, Mother and my siblings moved away. I married my high school sweet heart and after his graduation from Louisiana Polytechnic College, we moved on to the next chapter in our lives. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Life on the Farm

Esther Eley Jones

A Farm 1940 in West Carroll Parish, Louisiana Cultivating CottonLibrary of Congress
     My father was a farmer in West Carroll Parish, Louisiana, and my mother was a “housewife.” They had eight children so it was important that mother stay home. Back then, folks called it “Working at home.” Today young women call it “Stay at home Mom.” Mother’s chores were caring for the home, the children, cooking two meals each day, gardening, and milking the cows. Mother would cook our breakfast of fresh eggs from the chickens, her own perfectly shaped homemade biscuits that she made in her large brown wooden biscuit bowl, occasionally fresh bacon or fresh sausage, homemade syrup or jelly, and fresh milk. When mother prepared dinner, she cooked meat, vegetables, corn bread, and milk to drink with our meal. This was not just your usual meal. Mother cooked enough for dinner so that the family could have left overs for “supper.” Therefore, we always had three hearty meals a day. Very seldom did we eat between meals, but if we were lucky enough to have a snack, it would usually be a biscuit left over from breakfast, sliced into with sugar inside, and a glass of milk. The older children were usually busy helping with the chores and did not take the time for snacks or a break. There was work to be done and it had to be done within a time period.

     Erstus, as my mother always called him, allowed my sisters and me to follow along with him as he did his chores on the farm. As each one of us children became old enough, we helped with the chores. Now you may ask, “What were those chores?” When I was about twelve years old, I was old enough to learn to milk a cow. Women during that era were the cow milkers. That was during the times when cows were milked by placing the milk pail under the cows’ udders and squeezing the cows teats and pushing the teat up as you squeeze to make the milk come out. I just could not get the hang of milking the cow though. I would squeeze the cows’ teats, but just could not get the milk to come out. Mother tried to teach me several times without success. I decided it just was not meant for me to learn to milk a cow. Therefore, I went on to another chore of feeding (slopping the hogs) the hogs or feeding the chickens.

      Feeding the hogs and chickens was a bit easier than milking the cow. When I fed the hogs, I put the scraps, corn, or oat feed in their troughs and put water in another water trough. Of course, when I went into the hogs’ pen I tried to give the hogs their space when I fed them. Those were large strong hogs and sows (females) and I did not want an encounter with them. When I fed the chickens, I walked into the chicken pen, sprinkled chicken feed in their feeders, and made sure there was water in their water pans. Chickens need plenty of fresh water every day so that was a big chore to keep up. Of course, the chickens would run around clucking as they were trying to find their chicken feed, they would congregate for their meal, and eat until they were satisfied. Chickens eat whole grains, yellow cracked corn, grass, weeds, or kitchen scraps.

     Farming was our lively hood and our way of meeting the needs of our family.  Family was important to Daddy. You see Daddy was the oldest of the children in his family, he learned to work at a very young age, and he instilled in his children a work ethic.  There was very little waste of food or time for our farming parents and their children. There were chores that needed to be done and when those were done, then we could play.

     Memories are a view of things of the past as they are etched in our minds. As we made memories we were not aware of the lives we touched along the way.